Wikis – Susan shows you how.

Susan Bentley is the eLibrarian at the school I work at. It’s great having her on staff – in her role she is responsible for maintaining our Library’s online presence. I first heard the word Web 2.0 from Susan I think, so I have a lot to thank her for as I now bask in this Web 2.0 world!

Susan has been busy this year creating Wikis for classroom use. We used to create pathfinders to support curriculum – these were static pages with links to web pages and items available in our Library, but no-one could add to the page other than Susan. Now we’ve moved these pathfinders over to  Wikis and have been introducing them to staff and students. Two of the best working Wikis operate at Yr 11 for Legal Studies and Literature. In these Wikis students have a page each within the Wiki and use this to post responses and upload interesting links or videos they find. I introduced the Wiki to an International studies class last week and received a wonderful reaction from one of the sudents. I could see her eyes widening as she realised the possibilities of this as a tool for learning. She came to see me the next day for some advice on how to link to her page from the home page. She had uploaded numerous YouTube videos about Rwanda and wanted to be able to share her knowledge with her peers. It was exciting to see her enthusiasm – a great reminder to me as to why these are such enabling tools that should be utilised for learning. She’d even gone home to show her Mother what was now possible. This is girl headed off to Uni next year now armed with a powerful realisation of how to use Web 2.0 for collaboration.

Susan is presenting with me next week and has uploaded a presentation to Slideshare about how to create a Wiki using PB wiki – she has lots of good ideas so take a look.     

Presentation update – I know why there are always bullet points!

Last week I posted about Garr Reynolds and his presentation to Google staff about how to deliver an effective presentation. Well, I think I’ve figured out why it is we sit through countless presentations that are full of bullet points and text.

IT’S A DAMN SIGHT EASIER TO DO THAT THAN TO TRY AND SOURCE APPROPRIATE IMAGES AND KEEP DETAIL SO THAT YOU CAN ACCURATELY PROVIDE BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAIL ABOUT WHERE YOU GOT YOUR INFORMATION!!!

There.  Got that one off my chest.  Now it’s time to think some more and immerse myself in the world of flickr and morguefile, as I try to find images that are going to live in the memory of the kind souls (please be kind!) who are going to attend my presentation next Monday.

Wish me luck. At the rate I’m going I well may see the sun rise!    

School’s out Friday

End of another working week – I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling like this is going to be one loooong term! A laugh at the end of the week is necessary, and the latest effort from improveverywhere provides just that. This time their mission is food court musical – improveverywhere agents are in a food court and break out in song much to the bemusement of unsuspecting diners. It’s very much like the work of the guys from The Chasers and their ‘Life is a musical’ efforts. I’m wondering if the improveverywhere crew have seen some of their work.

 I’m having problems with WordPress tonight and can’t embed the video from YouTube – very frustrating. Trust me – follow the link and you’re guaranteed a chuckle.  

Scrapblog – the things your students find!

I teach a class called Connections on a Thursday afternoon. It’s a one lesson a week proposition and teachers offer instruction in something they have an interest in. I’m offering blogging as an option and twenty six students have lined up to take the class. They can’t wait to get started on creating their own blogs, but I’m using the first few sessions to get them used to apps like flickr and delicious.

Today one of the students showed me something she has been using at home. It’s called scrapblog and it allows you to combine photos, videos, audio and text to create a multimedia scrapbook.  I’ve been playing around with it and it’s a lot of fun. And just because it’s fun doesn’t mean that it can’t have some educational merit! I was thinking how you could have your students create a scrapbook reflecting a character from a text they are reading – they would show their understanding of the character through the theme selected, pictures and extras inserted into the pages they create. Worth a look at for both school and home projects.  

I love it when students choose to share their finds with you. It’s one of the reasons I love teaching – sharing knowledge is very rewarding and when it’s reciprocal it’s even moreso.